Cover image for Gothic Revival.
Gothic Revival.
Brooks, Chris.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Phaidon, 1999.
Physical Description:
448 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA610 .G68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



At the height of the Victorian period, a passion for the Gothic style swept England and spread far beyond. Gothic architecture, associated with the social and cultural ideals of the Middle Ages, was seen as a means of remaking the modern world. In this lucid exposition, Chris Brooks unravels the layers of meaning that Gothic held for its many reinventors, from the political uses of Gothic history in the seventeenth century to Barry and Pugin's Houses of Parliament in the mid-nineteenth. Yet the Gothic revival is not just manifest in buildings continually recreated; it has taken the form of poetry and fiction, of painting and sculpture, of movies and video games, of Gothic music and Gothic punk. This is the first book to deal comprehensively with the whole scope of the Gothic Revival.

Author Notes

Chris Brooks lectures on Victorian culture at Exeter University's School of English. He is also Chairman of the Victorian Society, a Trustee of the Albert Memorial, and a member of English Heritage's Cathedrals and Churches Advisory Committee. He has written and edited several books, including Signs for the Times: Symbolic Realism in the Mid-Victorian World .

Reviews 1

Choice Review

As part of Phaidon's new "Art and Ideas" series, this book surveys the Gothic Revival from c. 1600 to 2000, but at the same time it reconsiders the topic. Writing in a lively style, without use of jargon, Brooks proposes a highly politicized interpretation of the meanings attached to Gothic in postmedieval culture and explores the various ways Gothic Revival architecture could be used to convey political messages. Brooks briefly covers Gothic Revival in the US and on the Continent, but he devotes greatest space to the British Isles, and it is here that his arguments are most informed and convincing. Especially thought-provoking is his linking of the early Revival of the 17th century to political ideologies espoused by Parliamentarians and Whigs in England at a time (in the US) during and after the Civil War. Sorely missing are footnotes, which would have allowed the serious reader to check sources and to follow up on ideas, buildings, and architects; but stunning photographs and well-conceived appendixes---a glossary, brief biographies, maps, key dates, suggestions for further reading--almost make up for that lack. All levels. E. B. Smith; Pennsylvania State University, University Park Cam